Raglan ...... surfdudes and shitheads

Raglan Travel Blog

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Whale Bay

It was a couple of weeks ago that I lay on Bondi Beach in Sydney. I looked at people surfing and thought how cool it would be surfing on the waves. That same night a saw a compilation of the best surfing actions in Australia, which fired up my desire to surf even more. Unfortunately I only had one night left in Sydney so it was too late for me to sign up for surfcamp in Australia.

Raglan is the one of the best surfspots in New Zealand. The waves are great. A special feature of this surfspot is that the beaches are covered with black sand. Another special feature of this place is that all the surf breaks are left hand point breaks. No idea what that means but I've been told that there aren't many left hand point breaks in the world.

Karioi office and busses to beach and downtown
That's why it's a special surfspot and loved by many surfers like for American singers Jack Johnson and Ben Harper who regularly visit Raglan. Me and three other Kiwibus travellers went to this famous surfspot.

We stayed at the Karioi Lodge. A nice hostel in the rainforest on a hill just outside Raglan. The atmosphere in this hostel is great. It's exactly what you can expect from a surfers hostel, very relaxed, laid back and free pool games! There was also a long zipperline (Flying Fox). Late at night we would walk up to the zipper line to glide down. Very exciting because at night you couldn't see where you were going at and due to the high speeds you would swing up really high at the end of the zipper line. Besides playing pool games and going down with the zipper line, we also played card games.

Raglan mainstreet (right)
The most popular game was Shithead. It only takes five minutes to learn this game and after that, you will be addicted to this game. I think we've played this game for many hours a day. There are also some hiking trails around the hostel. These are nice walks through the rainforest. Not difficult in general but when it rains, the tracks can be very muddy. At night you can see many glow worms around the hostel. Very nice. This is also the place where I've tasted Vegemite for the first and most likely the last time. Not nice.

Raglan is a very small town. Not much to do there. There is one main street and that's pretty much it. You only go into town for groceries. There are a few small restaurants and bars. All the surf beaches are just outside town.

Black sand

As I mentioned before, Raglan has great surf beaches. Well, I signed up for a half-day surf lesson. All gears (wetsuit and surfboard) are included. First thing I noticed was the black sand. The beach is actually not black, but it is certainly darker than most beaches I've seen. The other thing that caught my eyes were the waves. Man, these are huge! The waves I've seen are about 1,5 metres high and the waves further into the sea are even higher. It's a struggle to get into the sea to surf because the waves keep hitting you back to the beach. However I managed to catch several waves which was really cool. It's quite amazing how fast you're going when surfing on a wave. It was quite easy to stand up on a surfboard however a few people in my class just couldn't stand on a surfboard.

This is the beach where I learned how to surf (Whale Bay)
I guess you need a little bit of "feeling" to balance on a board. I can't make turns yet but they can teach you that if you take more lessons.

If you want to learn surfing, you have to be a confident swimmer. Me and several others in my class got a little bit too enthusiastic with surfing. We surfed too far from our instructors just to surf on bigger waves but in no time we got caught in a rip current. Luckily we realized what was happening and managed to get out of this current (thanks to diving lessons), but two other guys had to be safed by the instructors. I'm glad to have taken a surf lesson so I now know how it feels to stand on a surfboard. I don't think this is a sport for me though.

Raglan is a great place to surf and to relax. A bit too relaxing for me apparantly because I've hardly taken any pictures here. (sorry!). However, this relaxing place was great because I needed all the energy for my next stop.

Next destination: Tongariro Crossing (Taupo).

Eric says:
Awww, surfing isn't for you? Even after standing up on a wave? Hehe. Great journal and story about your first surfing experience, on a world class wave too!
Posted on: Dec 04, 2008
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Whale Bay
Whale Bay
Karioi office and busses to beach …
Karioi office and busses to beach…
Raglan mainstreet (right)
Raglan mainstreet (right)
Black sand
Black sand
This is the beach where I learned …
This is the beach where I learned…
A blurry picture of one of the hik…
A blurry picture of one of the hi…
Karioi Lodge
Karioi Lodge
Karioi kitchen
Karioi kitchen
Karioi living room
Karioi living room
Raglan mainstreet (left)
Raglan mainstreet (left)
Bar and hotel in Raglan
Bar and hotel in Raglan
Raglan
photo by: ashleynpearson